This dish is one of the staple pasta dishes of Italy, simple to make and extremely delicious. Primavera simply means ‘Spring’ in Italian and accordingly this dish is made when the fresh new vegetables of spring are beginning to appear in gardens and fresh food markets of every Italian city and town.
It can contain any springtime vegetables but traditionally will contain young green beans, snow peas, double shelled broad beans, courgettes, zucchini flowers baby squash, spinach/kale and/or asparagus. Although, these are the general vegetable ingredients, any young fresh vegetables can be used and it can also be made anytime during the year … not merely Spring.
In the north they add cream but in the south the oil and vegetables create the sauce for this dish.
Makes – 4 to 6 serves
1 zucchini (sliced into thin strips) or handful of baby courgettes (chopped roughly)
2 or 3 zucchini flowers (chopped finely)
small bunch of young asparagus (trimmed and chopped in half or thirds)
100 grams young green beans or snow peas
100 grams double shelled broad beans – remove beans from pod and then remove the outer shell of each bean, so you only have the inner bean
100 grams of baby squash (cut in half)
1 small red capsicum (cut into strips)
large handful of fresh spinach or kale leaves
1 cup of fresh basil (chopped) or any fresh herb – parsley, coriander, sage or mint
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 chilli (finely chopped) – optional
½ cup of grated parmigiano cheese
½ cup dry white wine – optional
salt and pepper
pasta of choice
1. Place a large pot of water on stove and bring to the boil.
2. Meanwhile prepare all other ingredients and when water is at a rolling boil commence to cook pasta. Make certain to add a good pinch of salt to the boiling water.
3. In a shallow pan, place olive oil, garlic and chilli. Heat momentarily and then add capsicum, asparagus, beans, zucchini and squash. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Then add zucchini flowers (if used) and spinach and wine (if used) cook for further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Turn off heat and add basil, cheese, salt and pepper, stir and cover with a lid.
6. Drain pasta and pour into frypan, stirring the ingredients so the pasta, vegetables and sauce are well mixed.
7. Serve immediately.
You can also add meat to this dish if you like, it is not traditional but makes for a more filling meal. Simply cut meat of choice into small bite size pieces and shallow fry in a little olive oil, until golden brown. Add the browned meat to the final dish only when the vegetables and pasta have already been combined.
I like to use chicken, beef or Italian sausage (can substitute chorizo) from time to time.